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BOOK REVIEW: A Genuine ‘Moderate’ Egyptian-American Speaks Her Mind in ‘Now They Call Me Infidel’

Posted by kinchendavid on November 17, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
Huntington News Network Book Critic

Hinton, WV – Nonie Darwish discovered her true homeland when she moved from her native Egypt to the U.S. in 1978, a saga she recounts in “Now They Call Me Infidel” (Sentinel, a Penguin USA imprint, 272 pages, $23.95).

Darwish, a native of Cairo, is the daughter of a “shahid”, a “martyr” who was killed in Gaza by Israeli commandos several years before Israel occupied the Gaza strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. Her father, intelligence officer Col. Mustafa Hafez, was assigned to Gaza by Egyptian dictator Nasser. Nonie Darwish, now in her mid 50s, was eight when she lost her father.

Today, Darwish speaks out against the Israel- and Jew-hatred that is so prevalent in the Arab world – and even non-Arab Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan. “Mein Kampf” by Hitler and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a notorious Czarist Russian anti-Jewish screed, are everywhere throughout the Muslim world and are believed as gospel. She visited Israel for the first time in 2004 and fell in love with the nation – just as she did with the U.S. She formed an organization called Arabs for Israel and lectures around the country about the real goals of radical Islam: Total domination of the world, with no dissent allowed.

Darwish, in this moving and eloquently written memoir, tells how, from an early age, she was different from the other children in her school, children who drank in the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-Western propaganda like mother’s milk. Her mother sent her to a school run by Catholic nuns, a school where she met young people from other countries. Darwish grew up questioning the propaganda of Islam and Egypt, became a reporter – I’d be willing to bet, a good one, because in my 40-plus years in journalism if I’ve learned one thing it’s that all good reporters are constantly questioning everything — and decided that the U.S. was the only place to live.

Once in Los Angeles, a multicultural place if ever there was one, as I can attest from 16 years of living there, she found to her surprise that Muslims continued to express their hatred of America and Israel, fueled by fundamentalism Imans and religious practices exported by Saudi Arabia. Most sophisticated Muslims from countries like Egypt laughed at these practices – in private – but they were accepted by many transplanted Muslims. Many Muslim women, who before had worn modern Western clothes, began wearing the clothes and veils and headscarves prescribed by the misogynistic fundamentalist Islamists, she notes.

Darwish: “The messages of most mosques [in America] can be summed up by the words of Omar Ahmad, cofounder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who said, as reported by the San Ramon Valley [Calif.] Herald, in 1998: ‘Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam….Islam isn’t in America to be equal to other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.’”

She writes that “not all Arab Americans would agree with that” – that most are happy and proud to be Americans, to live in a country where one can express an opinion that is unpopular without fear of having one’s head detached from one’s body. Darwish cannot understand how so many segments of American society – especially the far-left segments of the Democratic Party – fail to listen to the clear message enunciated by people like CAIR’s Omar Ahmad.

On Page 212 she writes in what is one of the central themes of the book: “Radical Islam has lofty plans to conquer the West and won’t let go. This is something Americans don’t understand and have trouble believing. They may be able to understand the dynamics behind why they blame America, Israel, and the West for all the ills in their society. They may even be able to understand how these extremists justify violence. But what Americans still don’t understand is that the goal of jihad is to conquer the world, literally, for Islam, and to usher in a Caliphate – that is a supreme totalitarian Islamic government, a lifestyle by force, one nation, one party, one constitution (the Koran), and one law (sharia Islamic law).”

She adds: “Make no mistake about it: They are sacrificing their men, women and children for this goal of world domination. They are willing to bring about an Armageddon to conquer the world to Islam.”

Nonie Darwish is my heroine for having the courage to write “Now They Call Me Infidel,” and Penguin USA, a mainstream publisher if there ever was one, gets my heartfelt kudos for publishing this important book. It’s probably the most important book anyone can read today.

Here is a cri de Coeur on her web site that deserves universal dissemination (I wish the anti-Semites of Britain and Europe would read it, too):

“To Muslims and Arabs across the globe: Reject hate, embrace love. Bring out the best in Islam by showing your compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. Make the holy land truly holy by giving Israel and the Jewish people the respect they deserve in their tiny little country. This is not a crisis over land. It is a crisis of the soul; a crisis in our faith, judgement and self confidence. Israel should not be regarded as an enemy, but as a blessing to our neighborhood. We need not fear peace, but embrace it.”

You have to read books like “Now They Call Me Infidel” and books by Steve Emerson, Robert Spencer, Mark Steyn (“America Alone” recently reviewed on this site) and Fouad Ajami (“Dream Palace of the Arabs”) because the mainstream media – and left-wing publications like The Nation and The New Republic – refuse to treat the promises of radical Islam for what they are: Promises, not threats.

Below are links to stories related to Darwish’s message in her book:

Link to David Aikman writing in the Wall Street Journal, on forced conversion of Fox Newsman and cameraman, http://www.phc.edu/news/docs/09212006Media.asp

Link to the New Boys of Terror by Fouad Ajami in US News and World Report Oct. 9, 2006


Nonie Darwish’s web site: http://www.arabsforisrael.com/home.html

Publisher’s web site: http://www.penguin.com.


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